Specially designed doors and windows proven to cut crime

20 May 2010

Specially designed doors and windows proven to cut crime

RESEARCH by Glasgow Caledonian University has shown that installing Secured by Design (SBD) standard doors and windows in Glasgow Housing Association properties has played an important role in cutting housebreaking crime and improving quality of life for residents.

Secured by Design is a UK-wide police initiative which supports the principles of using architecture to improve public safety by ‘designing out’ crime in buildings and regeneration projects. The research investigated an initiative delivered by Glasgow Housing Association and Strathclyde Police. Since 2003 the housing association has installed 46,665 new Secured by Design doors and put Secured by Design windows in 11,010 homes at a cost of almost £56 million.

Dr Paul Teedon of GCU’s School of Built and Natural Environment said: “Extensive research carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University shows strong evidence that Secured By Design doors and windows play an important role in helping reduce housebreaking crime and has an impact in making residents feel more secure in their homes, thereby enhancing personal safety and improving quality of life.”

Over the period examined by the study, the area fitted with the new doors and windows saw:

  • Total housebreaking crime decrease by 26%
  • Attempted housebreaking decrease by 59%
  • Theft by housebreaking decrease by 18%

GCU’s research found that not only was the percentage decrease in housebreaking in the SBD properties over twice that experienced in other homes in the immediate area, it was also twice that observed across all homes in Glasgow in a similar period. In addition, total housebreaking crime decreased in both SBD and other properties suggesting that housebreaking crime was not displaced from SBD homes to other properties as a result of the installation.

Chief Inspector Brian Connel from Strathclyde Police said: “Whilst the deterrent effect of Secured by Design specification products is widely recognised, this study reinforces that the true benefit of SBD is greater than the sum of its parts.  The partnership approach required in application of SBD can ensure well designed places that reduce crime whilst increasing the opportunities for community ownership across partners and the public.  A well planned, delivered and maintained environment can have a major impact on quality of life.”

Inspector Billy Graham, Force Architectural Liaison Officer for Strathclyde Police added: "SBD focuses on crime prevention at the concept, design and construction stages of any development.  By integrating crime prevention through environmental design principles and SBD minimum physical requirements, we have a proven formula to reduce the opportunity for crime and enhance personal safety and quality of life for residents. "

Glasgow Caledonian University’s School of the Built and Natural Environment has expertise in a range of disciplines including sustainability, resource and environmental management. The research conducted quantitative analysis, using crime statistics, and consulted with stakeholders including tenants and LHOs.

The research was jointly funded by the Scottish Governments Community Safety Unit and also investigated the potential economic and social benefits of adopting SBD principles in housing refurbishment. The Scottish Government has recognised the importance of this approach and has offered its support to the evaluation.


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